Dev Blog: The Crystal Scourge (PvE)
The Hash Rush dev blog is back; where we take an in-depth look at the core features of the game. Our previous dev blog took a look at the direction that we are developing the combat system, so we decided that we would expand on that by now talking about how the core PvE feature ‘The Crystal Scourge’ works.
What is the Crystal Scourge?
No matter how you play Hash Rush, mining and collecting Crypto Crystals will always be a part of your routine, after all, they are an extremely valuable and powerful commodity in the Hermeian Galaxy. But what you may not know is that before the Crystals are mined, or otherwise removed from the planet, they form a part of a world-spanning hive-mind known as the Crystal Virus.
The purpose of the Crystal Virus is to resist the player at every opportunity and does so by mutating the planet’s local plant and animal life into dangerous creatures, known collectively as the Crystal Scourge. As the player grows in power, so will the power of the Crystal Scourge.
With all that in mind, you can look at the Crystal Virus as the representation of the Computer AI that opposes the player. Just as the player can construct buildings and train units, the Crystal Virus is able to construct and train its own buildings and units based on what is available to it.
How does it work?
As we mentioned earlier, the Crystal Scourge grows in power in relation to the power of the player. The increase in power of the Crystal Scourge is split into six stages being:
- Single Attackers
- Waves of Attackers
- Crystal Outpost
- Crystal Base
- Crystal Boss
The first level (fog) is active at all times. The other phases will start once the player has progressed a certain amount. It is also important to know that each phase includes all of the features of the previous phases as well.
Finally, with the exception of stage 1, the stages are not permanent. If the player reaches stage 3 (waves of attackers) and is unable to defend themselves, after losing a certain amount of units and buildings, they will drop down to stage 2 or stage 1, depending on their remaining power.
Stage 1: The Fog
When a player starts out on their planet, they will quickly notice that most of their planet is blanketed in a thick fog, this is the first stage of the Crystal defence.
The Crystal Fog functions in a similar way to the Fog of War mechanic found in many RTS games, however, it also has additional abilities.
If a unit travels into the fog, they begin to accumulate fear, and once their fear reaches 100% they get the status effect ‘scared’. This means that regardless of what they are doing, they will run back towards the nearest vision building and cannot be properly used until their fear points have reached 0 again.
However, the fog can be lifted by the construction of vision buildings such as the Lamp Post and Guard Tower. These builds act as a light source and will lift the fog in a set range.
In addition to the fear, buildings that have been constructed in the fog will suffer a much-increased degradation rate.
For example, the player has expanded into the fog with vision towers and constructs a Crystal Mine, however, a monster then destroys the Lamp Posts that were providing light to the area. The player will now have a building in the fog, and the building will suffer major issues.
Stage 2: Single Attackers
The second stage of the Crystal defence is triggered once the Crystal Virus deems the player to be a threat (based on behind the scenes scoring).
Once this stage has begun, the Crystal Virus will begin spawning single units that are equal to or stronger than the player. These units will then be given the task of either hunting for the player’s units (hunt AI) or targetting the player’s structures (wreck AI).
Stage 3: Waves of Attackers
The third stage of the Crystal defence is a direct evolution of the second stage. Now, as well as defending against single attacks, the player will need to watch out for waves of attackers. These waves will behave in the same way as the single attackers and will target units or buildings.
Stage 4: Crystal Outposts
The fourth stage of the Crystal defence is all about the Crystal Outposts. The outposts are buildings found in all areas of the planet (except for the player’s starting zone) and serve as the spawn point for the monsters found in the previous two stages.
However, stage 4 reveals that the Crystal Outposts are in fact dungeons that can be cleared, doing so will give the player the opportunity to prevent further enemy units from spawning from that outpost.
There are several rules in play when entering stage 4:.
- Until stage 4, the player cannot enter the dungeon.
- Players cannot enter the dungeon until all surrounding monsters have been defeated
- The Crystal Outpost is invulnerable until the dungeon boss has been defeated
- Once the boss has been defeated, the player may neutralize the outpost
- The player has to keep the area under vision (build light sources around it), if they do not (or if the light sources are destroyed) the Crystal Outpost will re-spawn and the player will have to start from the beginning again.
Stage 5: The Crystal Base
The fifth level of the crystal defence opens the main crystal base to the player. It functions very similarly to the Crystal Outpost. However only one base exists per planet, and the dungeon boss is the Crystal Titan, which is the end-planet boss of the game. Furthermore, as well as a garrison of units dedicated to defending it, the crystal base will have defensive structures strategically placed around it.
The rules of the Crystal Base are:
- It spawns on the exact opposite of where the player starts
- It is a spawn point for the monsters found in the previous stages
- Players cannot enter the dungeon until they reach this stage
- Defensive units and buildings are always a greater level than the player
- The player can only enter the dungeon after clearing out the defenders
- Once you defeat the Crystal Titan, the planet will stop producing Crypto Crystals via mines and the player will need to move to the next planet.
Stage 6: The Crystal Titan
The final stage of the crystal defence will only activate if the player does not clear the Crystal Base before the conditions to activate this stage has been met.
When stage 6 starts, the Crystal Titan found in the Crystal Base will spawn on the planet and will always target the nearest building or unit that belongs to the player.
If the player is unable to defeat the Crystal Titan before all of their buildings have been destroyed, the Crystal Titan will retreat back into the Crystal Base and the player will be reset to the first stage of the crystal defence.
The Voyager’s Bastion cannot be destroyed and training Ernack workers has no cost, therefore the player can relatively easily rebuild themselves.
Just like the final rule of the Crystal Base, if the player defeats the Crystal Titan, the planet will stop providing Crypto Crystals via mines.